June 06, 2011

Review: Every Little Thing in the World, by Nina de Gramont

Paperback, 282 pages
January 4, 2011 by Antheneum
Contemporary YA
Sixteen-year-old Sydney Biggs is a “good kid.” Smart, pretty, self-aware. No one doubts that she’ll go far in life. But, lately her mother worries that Sydney is wandering down the wrong path and getting all caught up in petty teenage rebellion and shenanigans. When Sydney and her best friend Natalia “borrow” a car to go to a party and then get escorted home by the police, their parents pack them up and ship them off to a hard-love wilderness camp—to stop this behavior before it gets out of hand, before things go too far. The problem is, they already have.
Sydney—the “good kid”—is pregnant.
In the wilds of Canada, where the girls are to spend the next four weeks canoeing, camping and foraging for food, time is ticking, because Sydney isn't sure what she wants to do about her pregnancy. And she certainly isn't expecting the other heady issues that will confront her as she forges friendships with her adventure-mates, including a guy who makes it no secret that he is a major thug and a teen television heartthrob with a secret of his own, not to mention her own best friend — who is very adamant about what Sydney should do.

I’m not sure what to make of Every Little Thing in the World. I’m so confused, but I’ll try to put my thoughts into words the best I can.

I was apprehensive about reading this novel once I realized it was about teen pregnancy. There’s just something about these stories that turn me off, and I don’t know why. I definitely think it’s something that needs to be addressed. Maybe it’s the fact that I was a teen mom? And since I’ve lived it, I don’t necessarily feel the urge to read about it?

The characterization in this story and the atmosphere seemed spot on. I found myself enjoying their journey, becoming engrossed in their surroundings. The cast of characters were a lot of fun.

This novel made me think. I have always considered myself pro-choice (though I would never even consider an abortion myself) but something about the way the subject was handled in this story disgusted me at times. Abortion was discussed and considered in such a nonchalant way that I was turned off by it, and in the end I momentarily questioned my own beliefs.

Something that annoys me is when the back of the book is responsible for letting me in on details. For example, had the back of the book not said so, I never would have thought of Sydney as a “good kid”. Maybe she was before she began making such poor decisions, but we didn’t get to see that side of her, so to me, it’s as if it doesn’t really exist. In my mind, she’s a girl who doesn’t consider her actions beforehand, which leads to reckless drinking and unprotected sex.

I loved the exploration of the teen mind during a time like this, and the relationships and behaviors of those around her. I felt that it was authentic and enjoyable for the majority of the book. It has a pretty cover that doesn’t do the depth of the story justice.

As you can see, I’m conflicted. It left me in a swirl of positive and negative emotions, so I’d recommend everyone to give it a shot to find out for themselves.

3.5/5 Stars

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